Start Date: August 2, 2016
End Date: August 2, 2016
At the beginning of August I began to see a lot of articles like this one on video game websites, recommending a free Steam game called Moirai. I am not sure why the articles started popping up at that time, since Moirai‘s Steam page lists its release date as November of 2013, but for whatever reason, there they were. The articles all had a common theme – they all emphasized the importance of playing the game without reading anything about it beforehand. Intrigued, I did just that.
And so should you. Moirai is a first-person adventure game with Minecraft-esque graphics and, obviously, a very unique gimmick. Unlike the articles I read, I am going to go into detail on my experience with the game, so if you are at all intrigued by what I’ve written so far, go play the game before you read any further. It’s free on Steam, and shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes to complete. Go do it right now, because here come spoilers…
I started off Moirai by wandering around a cute little village. Talking to townspeople reveals that a woman named Julia has gone missing, and for some reason the tasking of finding her has fallen to me.
The village is very small, but suitably charming. I wasted a little bit of time chatting with non-player characters and exploring the handful of houses, but there wasn’t really much to find here. So I advanced along the only path available, finding myself at a sheep ranch.
Once again, there wasn’t really anything to do here. The only action available was to poke the sheep, and you’d better believe I poked every single last one of them. They all went “baaaaaa” in response. It was a great time. The barn door was locked, so I continued along the linear path where I soon found myself at the entrance to a cave.
After receiving a lantern and a knife from a pair of friendly lumberjacks, I began to explore the cave. Before too long, I ran into a farmer whose overalls were soaked with blood. The game provided me with three questions that I could ask the farmer:
I can’t recall the farmer’s exact responses to the first two questions, but I remember his third answer word-for-word. “I helped a woman suicide,” he said. The bizarre phrasing of that sentence stood out to me, and I figured that English was not the developer’s first language.
After the farmer answered my questions, the game gave me a choice: I could let the guy go, or I could stab him with my newly-acquired knife. I shrugged and stabbed him. His death was violent but unceremonial, and I continued exploring the cave.
Eventually, I came across Julia, the missing woman, laying in a puddle of blood on the cave floor. Here’s what she had to say:
I was starting to get a little bit of a sense of where this was all leading. When given the choice, I opted to assist in Julia’s suicide, mercifully stabbing her to death. I guess I was just in a stabbing kind of mood that day, y’know? Having done my good deed for the day, I started heading out of the cave.
Can you guess who I ran into on my way out? I ran into a farmer, of course, who proceeded to ask me the same three questions I’d asked just moments ago.
“Okay, so that’s the gimmick,” I thought. “The game has some kind of time-loop plot.” I half-assedly answered the three questions, eager to see what happened next.
What happened next was that the game abruptly ended, but not before asking me to enter my email address. Still a little confused, I did what was asked of me. A few hours later, I received this email:
Wow! In case you’re not following, the idea is that the two farmers I encountered were actual real-life people who also played the game – one before me, and one after me. In retrospect, I am very grateful to “Hopper” for answering the questions in such a straightforward manner, weird phrasing and all. If he had answered with “FUCK SHIT FARTFUCK” or “BABA BOOEY BABA BOOEY” or some such nonsense, the entire experience would have been ruined right there. I wish that when it was my turn to answer questions, I hadn’t been so dismissive and flippant, but I had no idea what was going on at the time! I figured the game was just asking me those questions to emphasize its time-loop narrative – I had no idea my answers would actually be read by anybody! Sorry about that, M. gunn, and no hard feelings about murdering me!
My own shitty answers notwithstanding, this was still a very surprising and unique little interactive experience, and I’m very happy I didn’t spoil it for myself. Hopefully you didn’t either, and actually played the game before reading this. If not, well, there’s really no point now, is there? You should really learn to listen.
AM2R: Return of Samus